AskDefine | Define sutra

Dictionary Definition

sutra n : a rule or aphorism in Sanskrit literature or a group of aphoristic doctrinal summaries prepared for memorization

User Contributed Dictionary


Alternative spellings


From sc=Deva. Cognate with English suture


  • /ˈsuːtrə/


  1. A rule or thesis in Sanskrit grammar or Hindu law or philosophy.
  2. A scriptural narrative, especially a discourse of the Buddha.


a rule or thesis in Sanskrit grammar or Hindu law or philosophy
  • German: Sutra
  • Norwegian: sutra
a scriptural narrative
  • German: Sutra
  • Hungarian: szútra
  • Norwegian: sutra



Compound of s and utro (see jutro).





Compound of s and utro (see jutro).





  1. to be fast; x1 is fast/swift/quick/hastes at doing/being/bringing about x2


Etymology 1

From sc=Deva.


  1. sutra

Etymology 2

see sutre


  1. Form of past tense, sutre



Compound of s and utro (see jutro).



Cyrillic spelling

Extensive Definition

Sūtra (Sanskrit, Devanagari सूत्र) or Sutta (Pāli), literally means a rope or thread that holds things together, and more metaphorically refers to an aphorism (or line, rule, formula), or a collection of such aphorisms in the form of a manual. It is derived from the verbal root siv-, meaning to sew (these words, including Latin suere and English to sew and "suture", all derive from PIE *syū-).
In Hinduism the 'sutra' is a distinct type of literary composition, based on short aphoristic statements, generally using various technical terms. The literary form of the sutra was designed for concision, as the texts were intended to be memorized by students in some of the formal methods of scriptural study (Sanskrit: ). Since each line is highly condensed, another literary form arose in which commentaries (Sanskrit: ) on the sutras were added, to clarify and explain them..
In Buddhism, the term "sutra" refers mostly to canonical scriptures that are regarded as records of the oral teachings of Gautama Buddha. In Chinese, these are known as 經 (pinyin: jīng). These teachings are assembled in part of the Tripitaka which is called Sutra Pitaka. There are also some Buddhist texts, such as the Platform Sutra, that are called sutras despite being attributed to much later authors. Some scholars consider that the Buddhist use of sutra is a mis-Sanskritization of sutta, and that the latter represented Sanskrit sūkta (well spoken).
The Pali form of the word, sutta is used exclusively to refer to Buddhist scriptures, those of the Pali Canon.

Sutras primarily associated with Hinduism

Sutras primarily associated with Buddhism

Other Sutras

Associated with Christianity


  • Monier-Williams, Monier. (1899) A Sanskrit-English Dictionary. Delhi:Motilal Banarsidass. p. 1241
sutra in Catalan: Sūtra
sutra in Welsh: Sutra
sutra in German: Sutra
sutra in Spanish: Sutra
sutra in Esperanto: Sutro
sutra in French: Sûtra
sutra in Korean: 수트라
sutra in Hindi: सूत्र
sutra in Italian: Sutra
sutra in Dutch: Soetra
sutra in Japanese: 経典
sutra in Polish: Sutra
sutra in Portuguese: Sutra
sutra in Russian: Сутра
sutra in Sanskrit: सूत्र
sutra in Slovak: Sútra
sutra in Serbian: Сутра
sutra in Swedish: Sutra
sutra in Vietnamese: Kinh (Phật giáo)
sutra in Turkish: Sutra
sutra in Chinese: 经藏

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

adage, ana, analects, aphorism, apothegm, axiom, byword, catchword, collected sayings, current saying, dictate, dictum, distich, epigram, expression, gnome, golden saying, maxim, moral, mot, motto, oracle, phrase, pithy saying, precept, prescript, proverb, proverbial saying, proverbs, saw, saying, sentence, sententious expression, sloka, stock saying, teaching, text, verse, wisdom, wisdom literature, wise saying, witticism, word, words of wisdom
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